Why The Last of Us Should Be Game Of The Year: Welp. Here I am, nominating the game that'll probably be near the top of just about every GOTY list on the internet. What a cliché I am.

(That's fitting, since I spent so much of my review of The Last of Us talking about its thorough embrace of post-apocalyptic cliché. Though for the record, I spent a lot more time talking about how very good it all is.)

This game… this game. I love it not only for its storytelling, its acting and its wonderful music; not just for its wickedly well-done combat and surprisingly great multiplayer; nor for its striking, subtle script and pitch-perfect ending. I do love it for those reasons, but I also love it because somehow, it feels so improbable.

Time and again we critics talk about the chasm between big-budget games and other blockbuster media, about how Hollywood regularly manages to put out hot-ticket movies and TV shows—your Gravitys, your The Lord of the Ringes, not to mention your Breaking Bads and your Game of Throneses—that manage to successfully mix bombastic action with good writing and memorable characters.

Blockbuster games, as evidenced by, well, almost every big-budget action game made in the last ten years, somehow always manage to fall a bit (or a lot) short in this regard. We forgive them their failings and let them lean on the medium's inherent strengths—and games are exceedingly difficult to make, we remind ourselves—but in terms of character development, of thematic writing, of narrative arc… they do tend to fall short.

The Last of Us didn't fall short. It accomplished precisely what its creators set out to accomplish. It was about love and companionship in the face of a world-turned-nightmare. It was about the horror of survival, and about the gnawing fear that accompanies scarcity. It was about loss and coping, about why we choose to continue living when all hope is lost. It will remain a noteworthy accomplishment for years to come, not because any one of its accomplishments was all that remarkable on its own, but because together they made it seem possible that blockbuster games this good might one day become regular—though never ordinary—occurrences.

For that, and for so many other reasons I've already elucidated upon,The Last of Us deserves to be Kotaku's Game of the Year.